Operation Flash 1995 - www.zlocininadsrbima.com


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Period: Yugoslav Wars

Region: West Slavonia


Operation Flash 1995



The criminal action "Flash" is the greatest suffering of Serbs in the Western Slavonia (which was part of the Republic of Srpska Krajina),  conducted by the Croatian military, paramilitary and police forces on the 1st and 2nd May 1995 under the leadership of Franjo Tudjman with the intention of ethnic cleansing of Western Slavonia. At the time of the attack, the area of ​​Western Slavonia was under the protection of the UN forces.

In just 36 hours more than 15,000 Serbs were expelled with 283 of them being killed or disappeared, including 57 women and nine children. The Army of the FR Yugoslavia and the Army of the Republic Srpska did not respond, nor did they try to interfere while the operation "Flash" lasted.

The Hague tribunal haven't processed the genocidal action "Flash" but during the trial to Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac in 2006-2012, it was mentioned that there were crimes, but Gotovina and Markac were not held responsible, at least according to the appeal judgment of 16.11.2012.

 

BACKGROUND

Destroyed Serbs village Divoselo in 1993
 

With the disintegration of Yugoslavia, more than two million Serbs living in the area west of the Drina River found themselves beyond the borders of the Republic of Serbia. The disintegration of Yugoslavia in mid-1991 brought war and conflict, persecution and suffering, as Croatian separatists wanted beside independence to get ethnically pure Croatian state. This would realize milenial dream of Croats to get an independent Croat state. Goverment of SR Croatia in the autumn of 1990, illegally imported a large quantity of weapons, and in the winter they changed the Constitution declering Serbs as national minority. They erased the name "socialist" and a five-pointed chessboard became a symbol of Croatia. This led to worsening of relations and tensions between Serbs and Croats. In the spring of 1991, Croatian police began raids in Serbian places and Serbs responded by raising barricades. JNA served as a buffer zone until mid-summer 1991 and then it was attacked by Croatian paramilitaries. Members of Ustasha and their descendants began to return to Croatia who emigrated after 1945 (Australia, USA, Canada, Germany, Argentina, Paraguay ...)

Thus began the war that has lasted for four years. During the war the Republic of Srpska Krajina was created, which included Northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, Banija, Western Slavonia and Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem.

In April 1992, in the central Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina tensions began to intensify and a bloody war started between the three nations, which has lasted for three years. This war led to creation of the Republic of Srpska which was needed by Serbs to avoid genocide they suffered during World War II. Muslim and Croatian army units in Bosnia and Herzegovina committed lots of criminal actions, which led to the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian population in Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Bihac, Mostar, Gorazde, Tuzla, Orasje, Capljina, Zenica, Visoko, Odzak, Duvno, Livno, Bugojno. Concentration camps 
were established for the torture of Serbs (Dretelj, Duvno, Celebici, Sarajevo, etc.).

The Croatian Army and police during the war in Croatia (1991-1995), conducted series of criminal actions such as: "Miljevački plateau", "Maslenica", "Medak Pocket". The ethnic cleansing of Serbs was conducted in urban area: Sisak, Gospic, Zadar, Osijek, Vukovar, Karlovac, Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and others.


 

 

PREPARATION OF ATTACK

This criminal action was planned by political and military leadership of Croatia. Those are:

  1.    Franjo Tudjman, Croatian President 
  2.    Gojko Susak, the Croatian Defense Minister
  3.    Janko Bobetko, Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Army,
  4.    Petar Historian, Lieutenant General of the Croatian Army,
  5.    Imre Agotić, Lieutenant General of the Croatian Army,
  6.    Mladen Markac, Croatian police major general,
  7.    Džanko Luka, Major General of the Croatian Army,


 

They are still free, glorified as Croatian national heroes.

 
 

THE ATTACK
 
The operation "Flash" started in the morning at 5am on May 1, 1995 with the artillery attacks on Serbian positions Pakrac to Jasenovac, on the west side of the village Donji Bogicevac over Medara to Pakrac at the east. Around 16,000 members of the Croatian forces 
from several directions attacked less than 4,000 members of the West Slavonia Corp of the former Serbian Krajina Army on May 1, at 5.30 pm, while people were still sleeping. Around 6:00pm, the Croatian Armored Brigade entered the "buffer" zone, which in the region of Pakrac was supposed to be protected by members of the Jordanian UN forces.

With the sudden attack the towns of Pakrac and Okučani were isolated and 6,000 Serbs found themselves surrounded with the Croatian forces which means that the number of attacker was higher than the population in this area, and ratio of soldiers was four against one.

The UNPROFOR Command confirmed it had received notice about the beginning of the attack on Western Slavonia, but it didn't include rationale for such an act . After the start of the operation, the Jordanian (UN forces) have withdrawn to their bases, from which they watched the suffering of people whom they were obliged to protect.

The Croatian Interior Ministry stated that the attack on the Republic of Srpska Krajina was "police operation" which "aims to ensure the safety of the passengers on the highway Zagreb-Lipovac," adding that the operation was of "local character".

In the refugee convoy of Serbs, who were trying to escape from the Croatian army and police on their way to the Republic of Srpska , 
283 people were killed or missing , including 57 women and nine children. Serbian refugee camp were striken with air bombs and cannon shells.


Around 1,500 members of the Army of Srpska Krajina were captured, most of them by the fraud, with the help of the UN Protection Force. After the capture, Croatian courts convicted a number of Serbs for all kinds of war crimes  and 18  men still serve long prison sentences in the notorious prison Lepoglava.
 

 


TRIAL AND JUDGMENT

The Hague Tribunal on 15 April 2011, found guilty and sentenced Croatian army generals Ante Gotovina to 24 and Mladen Markac to 18 years of prison. They were convicted for participation in a joint criminal enterprise led by Franjo Tudjman, whose goal was to forcibly and permanently remove the Serb population from the Krajina region 
during and after the operation "Storm" and "Flash".

The Hague Tribunal found them guilty of the crimes of persecution, deportation, plunder, destruction, murder, inhumane acts and cruel treatment, and acquitted them of responsibility for the forcible transfer of population.

In response to the operation "Flash" 
Krajina Serbs bombed Zagreb on 2 and 3 May 1995 , where six people were killed and about 150 wounded. Because of the bombing of Zagreb after the "Flash", the Hague Tribunal brought  judgment which sentenced the president of the Republic of Srpska Krajina Milan Martic to 35 years of prison.

The Hague Tribunal is well informed about this crime but it still hasn't opened investigation. Ignoring this crime, on July 25, 1995 the same court brought indictment against Milan Martic, former president of the RSK for "failing to abide the rules and customs of war, when he issued instructions to military forces of the RSK to granate Zagreb in retailation for "Flash"", which resulted in killing seven civilians.


"When you  realized that people of Croatia didn't want you there, why didn't you leave Croatia and go to Serbia? Instead, you have made trouble to yourself and Croats. "
(ICTY judge Dzastis Bakone Moloto, to the witness at the trial of Milan Martic)


 

 

CONSEQUENCES

The Serb population, after the expulsion from Western Slavonia, mostly scattered around the world (The Republic of Serbia, Australia, Canada, USA, Germany ...), far from their homeland. The small number of people have returned, mostly elderly. The Documentation and Information Center "Veritas" notes that in the period 1996-2006 about 1,300 displaced Serbs returned t
o their homes in Western Slavonia.

Serbian returnees are not welcome in Croatia. They constantly receive threats and their assets are being usurped or destroyed.

In Croatia, May 1 is celebrated as a holiday, while in Serbia people go to the memorial service in the church of St. Mark in Belgrade, organized by the Association of families of missing persons from the territory of the former Yugoslavia "Suza" ...



Do not forget and do not repeat!